NYGiants 29 PHL 16

I have never been so happy to be so wrong!  This blog was dead wrong about the Giants chances today, Mayor rules this blog for the entire WEEK!  I am not worthy, Mayor!  We are not worthy!  Great gutsy call figuring on a Giants win.

Kevin Gilbride, you were awesome!  Giants players, you were awesome.  And to find a way to remain composed after losing the lead, with that great goalline stand, fantastic.  The only thing better than a Giants win is a Giants win vs Philadelphia.  And the only thing better than a Giants win vs Philadelphia is a win IN Philadelphia!!! 

Where do we start with the list of goods?  If the Giants had somehow lost, we would have still been upbeat in a loss, as the Giants came in there and played well, unlike the first 2 games which were so sloppy and filled with poor play.  Today we saw terrific play and even better coaching.

GOOD

1.  Kevin Gilbride.  The game ball has to go to a coach.  This morning, I commented, and then tweeted before the game started:

“nyg vs phl is all about the LBers- Jints have to use their RBs and TE to attack theirs, and Giants D has to be ready for them to attack ours”

Well, Kevin Gilbride used his RBs extremely well today, throwing them flares, shovel passes, screens, and even a play action pass for a 40 yd TD to Jacobs.  Gilbride got his RB in one on one coverage vs rookie LBer Casey Matthews.  And it was a well-designed play which isolated Jacobs after the catch, as the left routes went right and no PHL defensive backs were left to help the LBer. 

Giants RBs had 7 pass catches.  As a point of emphasis, at one point in Q4 on the game-winning TD drive, Gilbride called a (play action, I believe) pass to Hynoski on the left side and it was 1 on 1.  I’d have to see the replay to make sure it was a Safety or LBer in coverage, but the impressive thing is that Gilbride was playing chess instead of checkers, going after the Eagles weaknesses, not their strength on the DL and CB.  The pass was incomplete, but the Eagles never had an answer for this.  

In today’s NFL, where passing reins supreme, defenses adjust by bringing pressure.  Offenses must respond (when defenses like the Eagles like bringing consistent pressure) by using RB pass plays to the side/above the line of scrimmage.     

The Fox commentators also made numerous points of showing how the Giants beat the DL scheme of the Eagles called “Wide 9.”  They trapped the DE by letting him make N-S progress upfield, only to have the RB run right past, thus the  DE runs himself out of the play. 

2.  Kevin Gilbride. It is not good enough to praise one of our dartboard faces only once.  We have to praise him again for attacking in Q4 and not leaving this game to chance.  When you are up by 6 points against a hated rival who has beaten you in epic come-from-behind fashion THREE TIMES IN HISTORY (Pisarcik fumble, Westbrook Punt Return, Jackson Punt Return), YOUR OFFENSE MUST ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR PUTTING THE GAME AWAY.  Gilbride made great playcall after great playcall, and it was regardless of whether the calls were working or not.  If you do not believe that, just go check out our midgame tweets praising 2 yard gains and 2 yard losses.  The guy was attacking the Eagles weaknesses, mainly their LBers, and you had to keep doing that.  It is fitting and apropos that the game is salted away on a SCREEN PASS TD to Ahmad Bradshaw, yet ANOTHER great playcall by Gilbride which ends the game.  Fantastic football.

3.  Victor Cruz.  We emphasized this morning in comments that the Giants needed to play small ball.  The Victor Cruz 74 yd TD is actually just an 8 yard catch on 3rd and 2, but the play gets taken to the house off of great openfield running and Eagles mistakes.  His 2nd TD of the game, arguably even bigger, puts the Giants ahead for good.  We can question the throw into double coverage, but at least Manning is throwing to a developing spot, not an open man closing.  Cruz fought for the ball and got it.  Tremendous effort that made the difference today.  Winners get TDs on the road.  Cruz got 2 of them.  He could have had a 3rd when he beat all defenders and was wide open on a bomb, but Manning missed him by a few feet.

4. Aaron Ross.  Yes, the much maligned Aaron Ross got two picks.  He also defensed more than a few passes, bent but did not break. 

5. Linval Joseph.  The second year DT had his presence felt.  He made penetration, disrupted more than a few runs, got enough push to alter Vick’s vision and pocket, and we believe he even tipped the ball (or glancing hit on Kafka?) on the second INT by Ross.  And remember, it was Joseph who made the key penetration to stop a PHL run for a loss of 2 yards, which set up a turnover on downs two plays later on 4th down.  

6. Corey Webster.  Read this stat line:  DeSean Jackson.  2 catches for 30 yards.          

7. Bradshaw and Jacobs.  The running backs were a huge part of the gameplan, they executed, made some big runs and more importantly some big catch and runs to get this W.  And Jacobs got a key yard on 4th and 1 to extend a drive. 

8.  Jason Pierre-Paul.  This guy collected 2 more sacks.  He’s got 4.5 sacks in 3 games.  Now obviously that is only 3 games, but that is on pace to pass Strahan for the single season record.  Of course we’d be stupid to think he would be able to get it, because a lot of things would have to happen (overcome more double teams, etc..), but the point is that the kid is making his presence felt on almost every pass rushing play in some way.  I love how he got snaked by Vick early when the nimble QB sidestepped him, only to have his hustle come all the way back so that he could STILL get the sack seconds later.  He never gave up on the play, a credit to him. 

9.  Eli Manning.  ZERO TURNOVERS.  Can we give the debates at least one week of rest?  Yes, we are only seconds away from the next “Bad Eli” sighting at an NFL stadium near you, but for the most part he played a complete game and was not careless with the ball.  He took some coverage sacks, which was GOOD.  Better that than playing ultimate frisbee.

10.  Defensive Line Goal Line Stand.  Look, I thought Vick was in the endzone on 2nd down, and I thought the Giants were selling out on run, making the playcalling poor in not using some play action there for your TE (ie Celek).  But the Giants stopped them cold.  Rocky Bernard made the key penetration, blowing up the run on 3rd down and forcing the FG.  That is how you win ball games.

BAD

1.  The Giants defense had some problems in H1 with stopping the Eagles running game and McCoy.  In general, the Giants defense bent, but did not break.

2.  You go for the 2 pt conversion when you are up by 12 with only a few minutes left.  This is like the second or third time Coughlin has made this mistake as a Giants HC, and it means his chart is incorrect, because he is going to keep making the same mistake.  

UGLY  

1.  Rolle personal foul.  Why does it seem that Rolle is always involved when it comes to these questionable personal fouls?!  There is a pattern here.  Fix it Antrel.  If you want to be a leader, you cannot be killing the team at inopportune moments.

2.  Can someone please explain to me why ANY OFFICIAL IS EVER HELPING A QB GET UP OFF THE GROUND AFTER A PLAY?!! Some guy tweeted to Strahan that it happened 3X that they saw.  I saw it once, and that was once more than I needed to wretch.  Why don’t the officials just zip down Vick’s fly and start ****ing the guy too, while they are at it?

SUMMARY

GREAT WIN!  Vick was not 100%, but the Giants have not been 100% either, so injuries are never an excuse, not for us, not for them either.  The key thing is that the Giants played against a good team and were extremely competitive.  If they had lost, we would still have reason to be upbeat because we saw the Giants players fighting and we saw some great coaching today.  The Giants simply outcoached the Eagles and deserve a tremendous amount of credit.  We have been regular bashers of the coaching staff, but that does not have to be that way if we can consistently see them put the Giants players in a position to win games. 

One of my pet peeves is coasting in Q4 when your team has a lead and leaving things to chance.  This is the first time in a more than a long time that we saw Gilbride take responsibility for winning the game.  They moved the sticks, which was more important than the clock, because the TD they collected put the game out of reach, a Walsh “quality win.”  Winning teams knockout their opponent and don’t leave any air for the opponent to breathe.  There is nothing better than to see the air sucked out of the Linc.

We will have all week to discuss what this means for the season, but some of the obvious takeaways are that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  When Manningham is knocked out for the game, use your RBs in the passing game.  One blogger who we respect, John Fennely, tweeted why we don’t see this more often.  Whether the opposing LBers are good or not, you need to use this in your offense.    If this gives Gilbride more balance in his offense, great.  For heaven’s sake, Gilbride, let’s see more of this adaptation and consistency.  The coaches need to make adjustments on a constant basis throughout the season, not just here in Week 3.  Keep it up and put the players in a position to win.

Another big takeaway is that Cruz can be counted on for a bigger role as time progresses.  We need this guy to improve and develop each week.  Ever since the 2010 preseason game vs the NY Jets when it was the Victor Cruz show, we have been waiting for this UFA to contribute.  He picked a great day to start.  And what a day it was. 

We still have questions about Fewell’s schemes, about Gilbride’s ability to consistently do what he did today, etc.. but let’s savor this win and recognize that there are possibilities if this team can execute on all levels.  I am the first one to admit how surprised I am at what the Giants gave us today, but that is why they play the games.  I am not a believer in the coaches yet, but this is a start and something to hopefully build on. 

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